Well, that didn't take long, did it? Just one short day after news hit the web that the Transformer Prime's bootloader is encrypted and locked, ASUS has issued a statement on its Facebook page regarding the matter, and it's definitely a step in the direction that the modding community was hoping for. Here's the meat and potatoes of it:
Regarding the bootloader, the reason we chose to lock it is due to content providers' requirement for DRM client devices to be as secure as possible. ASUS supports Google DRM in order to provide users with a high quality video rental experience. Also, based on our experience, users who choose to root their devices risk breaking the system completely. However, we know there is demand in the modding community to have an unlocked bootloader. Therefore, ASUS is developing an unlock tool for that community. Please do note that if you choose to unlock your device, the ASUS warranty will be void, and Google video rental will also be unavailable because the device will be no longer protected by security mechanism.
This is definitely good news for anyone looking to mod the Prime, but, moreover, it further proves that there is strength in numbers - the community spoke (loudly) and ASUS listened.
The post also addressed the recent GPS issue, but many users won't be feeling as happy with what was said about that:
The ASUS Transformer Prime is made from a metallic unibody design, so the material may affect the performance of the GPS when receiving signals from satellites. Please note that this product is not a professional GPS device, and signal performance can be easily influenced by factors including, but not limited to: weather, buildings, and surrounding environments. Please understand there are limitations when using the GPS function. To avoid inconveniencing users who demand a powerful GPS device, we made the decision to remove it from our specification sheet and marketing communications. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
So, in a nutshell, someone didn't think the design through completely; thus, GPS is now a non-feature of the Prime. Not the best news that we've heard, but at least they were willing to admit the mistake.
Ready for one more turn on this roller coaster? ASUS also dropped the ICS bomb that many Prime owners have been waiting on - the release date. Looks like the OTA is all set to begin rolling out on January 12, making this the first tablet to bring Android 4.0 to the masses.
All-in-all, I would say this is some pretty good news for all the Prime owners (or potential owners) out there, especially if you don't plan on relying on the device's GPS to do, well... anything.
Congratulations to all who fought this fight in the name of openness - thanks to you, the entire community wins. To read ASUS' full post on the matter, hit up its Facebook page.